Spaghetti Westerns…in Canada?

I write contemporary westerns for Harlequin Romance, but I think they always have a bit of a Canadian twist. It’s in our attitude, they way we view things, the things we say.  There are similarities to our neighbours to the south, but I love to celebrate the differences, too. And I love love love that Paul Gross took the bull by the horns and made the movie GUNLESS.

Paul Gross is the guy who was a Mountie in Due South and was well-known for the line, “Thank you kindly.” In Gunless he shows up north of the border in Barclay’s Bush as an outlaw, The Montana Kid, but he can’t find a single person to duel. If an outlaw can’t be an outlaw, what on earth is he supposed to do with himself, anyway?

The scenes are ripe with Canadian dry wit and practicality.  When the villain, played by Callum Keith Rennie, has the heroine, Jane in his sights, he says she’s not worth the bullet. “She most certainly is worth a bullet,” The Montana Kid argues, and an outraged Jane says, “HEY!”  When he asks where he’s ended up, a little Chinese girl states, “The Dominion of Canada.” “Oh,” he grumbles in his gravelly voice. “Just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse.”

Dustin Milligan plays a shiny-faced Mountie at the local outpost, who happens to be sweet on Jane. Then there’s Graham Greene who plays the token Indian absolutely deadpan: “You gotta learn to tie up your horse, chief.”

But it’s not all one liners and Canadian politeness. There *is* a bounty hunter on his trail, and there is, of course, a shoot out at the end. And romance. Don’t forget romance! After all, a good outlaw needs to be reformed – and get the girl!



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10 thoughts on “Spaghetti Westerns…in Canada?”

  1. Donna,

    Gunless sounds hilarious! I’ve never heard of it, but I’m definitely going to find it. And I love Paul Gross. Due South was a favorite series.

  2. Hi, Donna. I have fond memories of Due South. I had a definite crush on that oh-so-polite Mountie. Talk about your pefect hero – capable, smart,and so sweet you want to eat him up. Gunless sounds like a fun offering. I might have to see how I like him in black instead of the usual Mountie red. 🙂

  3. Will have to check this one out. There is definitely a different “flavor” to Canadian works. I grew up on the border with Quebec, which is another “flavor” altogether. There is just a kinder, gentler nature to much that comes out of Canada. When the TV series FLASHPOINT came on it felt different. After a few episodes, I went on line to check it out. Canadian. We have always enjoyed our trips into Canada. The weather and not having to be the big brother on the block have allowed you to take a more relaxed view of life and realize you don’t have to take yourselves so seriously. Not a bad thing.

    Thanks for the heads up on this movie.

  4. Hi Donna, not one I’m familiar with, so gotta check out. I do love the 80’s series Bordertown with a US Marshal and a Mountie sharing the governing of a town on the parallel in the 1870’s. Great stuff. Good post today. oxoxox

  5. I loved Bordertown, too! I have the first season of it on DVD–such a fun show. Donna, this is a very interesting post. You know, even in the states we have differences, and not just “north” and “south”–I love it! When I worked at the Nat’l.Cowboy Museum here in OK City, I met people from all over the world–they had one thing in common–they LOVED COWBOYS! That was really awesome to think of–that all these people from all different countries and cultures came together to look at cowboy paintings, artifacts, pictures, even the different kinds of barbed wire (or “bob-war” as we call it here in OK.) LOL Great post.
    Cheryl P.

  6. I tried to order this from netflix, Donna, and they didn’t have it. I am still waiting and hoping. I would watch it just for Graham Green. Have been a fan of his since Dances with Wolves.

  7. love DWW and love Bordertown.. and please Paul Gross is my fav mountie…
    Oh Canada.. Happy Canada Day to all of us who live in The True North, Strong and Free…

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